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Richard II

Richard II Translation Act 3, Scene 2

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Drums; flourish and colours. Enter KING RICHARD II, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, DUKE OF AUMERLE, and Soldiers

KING RICHARD II

Barkloughly castle call they this at hand?

KING RICHARD II

Do they call this place Barkloughly castle?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Yea, my lord. How brooks your grace the air,After your late tossing on the breaking seas?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Yes, my lord. How do you feel, now that you're on land again after that rough sea journey?

KING RICHARD II

Needs must I like it well: I weep for joy To stand upon my kingdom once again. Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand, Though rebels wound thee with their horses' hoofs: As a long-parted mother with her child Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting, So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth, And do thee favours with my royal hands. Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth, Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense; But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom, And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way, Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet Which with usurping steps do trample thee: Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies; And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower, Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch Throw death upon thy sovereign's enemies. Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords: This earth shall have a feeling and these stones Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king Shall falter under foul rebellion's arms.

KING RICHARD II

I feel much better: I weep for joy to stand upon my kingdom once again. [Kneels to touch the ground] Dear earth, I touch you with my hand, even as rebels wound you with their horses' hoofs: just as a mother who's been separated from her child smiles and cries when they're reunited, so I greet you, my earth, both crying and smiling, and honor you with my royal hand. Let no food grow for your sovereign's enemies, my gentle earth, and don't give them anything to comfort them—but let your venomous spiders and toads lie in their way, biting the treacherous feet that tread on you. Let your plants sting them; when they pluck a flower, let there be a poisonous snake inside it whose forked tongue could kill them in an instant. Don't make fun of me for talking to the ground, my lords; this earth will hear me and the stones themselves will rise to my defense, before her native king is defeated by rebellion. 

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

Fear not, my lord: that Power that made you king Hath power to keep you king in spite of all. The means that heaven yields must be embraced, And not neglected; else, if heaven would, And we will not, heaven's offer we refuse, The proffer'd means of succor and redress.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

Don't be afraid, my lord; God, who made you king, has the power to keep you king in spite of everything. We should make use of what heaven gives us, not ignore it; otherwise, by refusing His help, we're disobeying God's will.  

DUKE OF AUMERLE

He means, my lord, that we are too remiss; Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security, Grows strong and great in substance and in power.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

He means, my lord, that we should be doing more, since Bolingbroke grows stronger in power and arms through our lack of opposition. 

KING RICHARD II

Discomfortable cousin! know'st thou not That when the searching eye of heaven is hid, Behind the globe, that lights the lower world, Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen In murders and in outrage, boldly here; But when from under this terrestrial ball He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines And darts his light through every guilty hole, Then murders, treasons and detested sins, The cloak of night being pluck'd from off their backs, Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves? So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke, Who all this while hath revell'd in the night Whilst we were wandering with the antipodes, Shall see us rising in our throne, the east, His treasons will sit blushing in his face, Not able to endure the sight of day, But self-affrighted tremble at his sin. Not all the water in the rough rude sea Can wash the balm off from an anointed king; The breath of worldly men cannot depose The deputy elected by the Lord: For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown, God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay A glorious angel: then, if angels fight, Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

KING RICHARD II

Silly, gloomy cousin! Don't you know that when the sun is down, thieves and robbers roam about unseen, boldly committing murders and other crimes; but when the the sun appears again in the east, he sets the tops of trees on fire and shines a light in every dark place—then, murders, treason, and other detestable sins will show themselves for what they are, the cloak of night plucked from their backs. So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke—who has enjoyed the night while the we, the sun, were wandering down below—shall see us rising in our throne, the east, his treason will not survive the light of day, and even he will tremble at his sin. Not all the water in the rough rude sea can wash the balm off from an anointed king; no word from an ordinary, earthly man can depose the deputy elected by the Lord. For every man that Bolingbroke has in his army, God has a glorious angel to fight for Richard; and if angels fight, weak men must be defeated, for heaven still defends the what is right.

Enter EARL OF SALISBURY

KING RICHARD II

Welcome, my lord! how far off lies your power?

KING RICHARD II

Welcome, my lord! How far away is your army?

EARL OF SALISBURY

Nor near nor farther off, my gracious lord, Than this weak arm: discomfort guides my tongue And bids me speak of nothing but despair. One day too late, I fear me, noble lord, Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth: O, call back yesterday, bid time return, And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men! To-day, to-day, unhappy day, too late, O'erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune and thy state: For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead. Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed and fled.

EARL OF SALISBURY

My weak arm, my gracious lord, is as close are you're going to get to an army: gloom guides my tongue and makes me speak of nothing but despair. Returning one day too late, I'm afraid, noble lord, has ruined all your happy days on earth: oh, call back yesterday, tell time to run backwards, and you would have had twelve thousand men to fight for you! But today, today, unhappy day, it's too late: your joys, friends, fortune and kingdom are lost. For all the Welshmen, hearing you were dead, have left and gone to fight for Bolingbroke. 

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Comfort, my liege; why looks your grace so pale?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Take comfort, my liege; why are you so pale? 

KING RICHARD II

But now the blood of twenty thousand men Did triumph in my face, and they are fled; And, till so much blood thither come again, Have I not reason to look pale and dead? All souls that will be safe fly from my side, For time hath set a blot upon my pride.

KING RICHARD II

Until now the blood of twenty thousand men made my cheeks red with triumph, but now they're gone; and until so much blood comes to me again, don't I have good reason to look pale and dead? Anyone who would be safe, leave me! For time has ruined me. 

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Comfort, my liege; remember who you are.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Be calm, my liege—remember who you are. 

KING RICHARD II

I had forgot myself; am I not king? Awake, thou coward majesty! thou sleepest. Is not the king's name twenty thousand names? Arm, arm, my name! a puny subject strikes At thy great glory. Look not to the ground, Ye favourites of a king: are we not high? High be our thoughts: I know my uncle York Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who comes here?

KING RICHARD II

Yes, I had forgotten. Aren't I the king? Wake up, cowardly majesty! You've been sleeping. Isn't the king's name worth twenty thousand names? Take up arms and fight for me, my name! A puny subject threatens your great glory. Don't look at the ground, my friends; aren't you raised high, as favorites of a king? Our thoughts should be positive too; I know my uncle York has an army large enough to fight for us. But who's here now? 

Enter SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

More health and happiness betide my liegeThan can my care-tuned tongue deliver him!

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

I wish you more health and happiness, my liege, than I can give you! 

KING RICHARD II

Mine ear is open and my heart prepared; The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold. Say, is my kingdom lost? why, 'twas my care And what loss is it to be rid of care? Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we? Greater he shall not be; if he serve God, We'll serve Him too and be his fellow so: Revolt our subjects? that we cannot mend; They break their faith to God as well as us: Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay: The worst is death, and death will have his day.

KING RICHARD II

I'm listening and my heart is ready; the worst you can say is just loss on this earth. Tell me, is my kingdom lost? Well, it was my responsibility; and what loss is it to be rid of a burden? Does Bolingbroke want to take my throne? He can never be greater; if he serves God, we're both His servants. Do our subjects rebel against us? We can't fix that, since they betray God as well as us. Go ahead, speak of  despair, destruction, ruin and decay: the worst is death, and death will have his day.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Glad am I that your highness is so arm'd To bear the tidings of calamity. Like an unseasonable stormy day, Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores, As if the world were all dissolved to tears, So high above his limits swells the rage Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel. White-beards have arm'd their thin and hairless scalps Against thy majesty; boys, with women's voices, Strive to speak big and clap their female joints In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown: The very beadsmen learn to bend their bows Of double-fatal yew against thy state; Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills Against thy seat: both young and old rebel, And all goes worse than I have power to tell.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

I'm glad that your highness is so prepared to handle my sad news. Bolingbroke covers your fearful land with bright steel and hearts as hard as swords, like a stormy day that makes the rivers overflow and drown their shores. Old men have put on helmets to cover their thin and hairless scalps; boys with women's voices try to sound like tough men; your own archers turn their bows against you; even washer-women are taking up rusty pikes against your throne: both young and old rebel, and everything goes worse than I have power to tell.

KING RICHARD II

Too well, too well thou tell'st a tale so ill. Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot? What is become of Bushy? where is Green? That they have let the dangerous enemy Measure our confines with such peaceful steps? If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it: I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.

KING RICHARD II

You tell a sad tale too well, too well. Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? Where is Bagot? How have Bushy and Green let the dangerous enemy come into this country without meeting any opposition? If we survive this, they'll pay for it with their heads: I bet they've made peace with Bolingbroke. 

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

They have indeed made peace with him, my lord.

KING RICHARD II

O villains, vipers, damn'd without redemption! Dogs, easily won to fawn on any man! Snakes, in my heart-blood warm'd, that sting my heart! Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas! Would they make peace? terrible hell make war Upon their spotted souls for this offence!

KING RICHARD II

Oh villains, vipers, damn them to hell! Dogs, easily won to slobber over any man! Snakes, nurtured in my own blood, that now sting my heart! Three Judases, each one three times worse than Judas! They want peace? Let hell make war on their souls for this! 

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Sweet love, I see, changing his property, Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate: Again uncurse their souls; their peace is made With heads, and not with hands; those whom you curse Have felt the worst of death's destroying wound And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

I see that sweet love easily turns to the most deadly hate. Uncurse their souls; their peace is made by losing their heads, not with a handshake; the men you curse are dead in the ground for you. 

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Are Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Ay, all of them at Bristol lost their heads.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Yes, all of them lost their heads at Bristol. 

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the duke my father with his power?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the duke my father with his army?

KING RICHARD II

No matter where; of comfort no man speak: Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs; Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth, Let's choose executors and talk of wills: And yet not so, for what can we bequeath Save our deposed bodies to the ground? Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's, And nothing can we call our own but death And that small model of the barren earth Which serves as paste and cover to our bones. For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings; How some have been deposed; some slain in war, Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed; Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd; All murder'd: for within the hollow crown That rounds the mortal temples of a king Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits, Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp, Allowing him a breath, a little scene, To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks, Infusing him with self and vain conceit, As if this flesh which walls about our life, Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus Comes at the last and with a little pin Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king! Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood With solemn reverence: throw away respect, Tradition, form and ceremonious duty, For you have but mistook me all this while: I live with bread like you, feel want, Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus, How can you say to me, I am a king?

KING RICHARD II

Who cares where; let no man talk of comfort. Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs; dust is our paper, and with our tears we'll write "sorrow" on the ground. Let's  choose executors and talk of wills—but no, for what can we leave behind after we're dead, except our deposed body to the grave? Our lands, our lives and everything we have are Bolingbroke's; we have nothing to call our own but death, and the earth covering our coffin. For God's sake, let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings: how some have been deposed; some killed in war; some haunted by the ghosts of the kings they deposed; some poisoned by their wives: some killed while they slept—all murdered. For within the hollow crown that sits on the king's mortal head, Death keeps his court, and sits amusing himself, grinning at his power, allowing the king a breath, a little time, to be a monarch, be feared and kill with looks, feeling vain and self-satisfied, as if this thin wall of flesh were impenetrable brass. But Death comes and with a little pin breaks through his castle wall, and: farewell king! Cover your heads; such signs of respect now are just a mockery, when you know that I'm flesh and blood.  Throw away respect, tradition, all forms of royal ceremony and duty, for you have been mistaken all this while: I live by bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends. Subjected like this, how can you say to me that I am a king?

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

My lord, wise men ne'er sit and wail their woes, But presently prevent the ways to wail. To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength, Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe, And so your follies fight against yourself. Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight: And fight and die is death destroying death; Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

My lord, wise men never sit and wail with grief, but find ways to prevent more grief. If you're afraid—since fear saps your strength—you give strength to your enemy by your weakness, and so fight against yourself. Be afraid and you'll die; there's nothing worse than coming to a fight afraid, since to be afraid of dying is to make yourself a slave to death.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My father hath a power; inquire of himAnd learn to make a body of a limb.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My father has an army; ask about him and learn to make a whole body from a single limb. 

KING RICHARD II

Thou chidest me well: proud Bolingbroke, I come To change blows with thee for our day of doom. This ague fit of fear is over-blown; An easy task it is to win our own. Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power? Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.

KING RICHARD II

You speak the truth. Proud Bolingbroke, I come to fight with you for our day of doom. This fit of fear was overblown; winning will be an easy task, since we're winning what belongs to us. Tell us, Scroop, where is our uncle with his army? Speak sweetly, man, although your looks are sour. 

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Men judge by the complexion of the sky The state and inclination of the day: So may you by my dull and heavy eye, My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say. I play the torturer, by small and small To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken: Your uncle York is join'd with Bolingbroke, And all your northern castles yielded up, And all your southern gentlemen in arms Upon his party.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Men look at the sky and see what sort of a day it will be; so you can guess, by my sad and tearful eyes, that my tongue has another heavy tale to say. I'm like a torturer, telling you all the bad news in small parts. Your uncle York has allied with Bolingbroke, giving up all your northern castles and all your southern army to him. 

KING RICHARD II

Thou hast said enough. Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth Of that sweet way I was in to despair! What say you now? what comfort have we now? By heaven, I'll hate him everlastingly That bids me be of comfort any more. Go to Flint castle: there I'll pine away; A king, woe's slave, shall kingly woe obey. That power I have, discharge; and let them go To ear the land that hath some hope to grow, For I have none: let no man speak again To alter this, for counsel is but vain.

KING RICHARD II

You've said enough.

[
To DUKE OF AUMERLE] I hate you, cousin, for leading me out of that sweet way to despair! What do you have to say now? What comfort do we have now? By heaven, I'll hate him forever that tells me to "be of comfort" anymore. I'll go to Flint castle: there I'll waste away; a king, sorrow's slave, shall obey his sorrow. The men that I have, let them go, to plow the earth that still has some hope to give, for I have none. Let no men try to argue with me, for advice is no use. 

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My liege, one word.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My liege, one word—

KING RICHARD II

He does me double wrong That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue. Discharge my followers: let them hence away, From Richard's night to Bolingbroke's fair day.

KING RICHARD II

He wrongs me twice that wounds me with flattery. Release my followers; let them all go free—from Richard's night to Bolingbroke's fair day. 

Exeunt

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Eve houghton
About the Translator: Eve Houghton

Eve Houghton graduated from Yale College in 2017 and is currently pursuing the MPhil in Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge. In 2018, she will return to Yale to begin her PhD in English. Her research interests include early modern commonplace books and note-taking practices, paratexts, reception studies, and the history of reading.